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Sudden Oak Death quarantine expanded

12/04/15 -- A quarantine area was established by the State of Oregon in 2001 to reduce the spread of Sudden Oak Death and its economic and environmental impacts. Sudden Oak Death is an organism that causes disease in over 120 species of trees, shrubs, herbs, and ferns. Recent confirmation of new disease sites has resulted in an expansion of the quarantine area which includes private, state, city and federal land. This may impact your plans for harvesting a Christmas tree or firewood from parts of the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest.

The entire quarantine area nearly doubled with an increase from a total area of 264 square miles to 519 square miles. Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest lands included in the quarantine area increased from about 55, 890 acres in 2014 to approximately 185,809 acres in 2015.

South coast residents and forest product-based-businesses will likely be impacted by the quarantine expansion since additional travel may be required to reach a quarantine free area and utilize permits required to harvest Special Forest products such as Christmas trees, firewood, boughs, and similar items from the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Sudden Oak Death is a plant disease caused by the introduced water mold, Phytophthora ramorum. The disease threatens the timber trade, the floral green industry, Christmas tree production, and plant nurseries throughout Oregon. Program costs for eradication and slowing the spread of SOD in Oregon’s forests is already well over $16 million. This includes aerial and ground surveys, laboratory diagnostics, treatment of infected plants and surrounding vegetation, and frequent post- treatment site monitoring.

People can spread the disease by removing infected host plants or plant parts from the quarantine area or by transporting infected soil and leaves on their boots, vehicles, and animals. To minimize human assisted spread of this destructive pathogen, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest restricts removal of all Special Forest Products from the SOD quarantine area except for Bear Grass and mushrooms.

“ We appreciate the many private landowners and natural resource agencies that are working together to prevent the spread of Sudden Oak Death, as well as the public’s cooperation in helping us reduce further spread,” said Ellen Goheen, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Plant Pathologist.

There are still many areas on the west side of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest to obtain a Christmas tree, firewood and more. Most of the Tin Cup Trail area, approximately 30 miles northeast of Brookings, is outside the quarantine boundary as is most of the area east of Wildhorse Road (#3318), approximately 18 miles east of Gold Beach. There are numerous locations in the vicinity of Agness and Powers that are also outside the quarantine boundary. To view a map of the quarantine area visit the Rogue River Siskiyou website.

Christmas tree permits are now available at Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest offices and established vendor sites. Firewood and other permits continue to be available for purchase at Rogue River-Siskiyou Forest offices. For Brookings residents, a visit to the Six Rivers National Forest in northern California may be a convenient option. They also offer Christmas tree permits ($10 per permit) and other Special Forest Product permits but keep in mind harvest must occur on the forest where the permit was issued.

Please contact the Gold Beach Ranger District at (541) 247-3600 for more information.

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